Multitasking works to get things done slowly and with poor quality. You may disagree. Many times during the day, you may feel overwhelmed. So you decide to kick it up by multitasking, so you feel like you’ve been productive but really have little nothing to show for it. The answer is not trying to spin more plates on sticks at one time; the answer is slowing down, narrowing focus, and completing one thing at a time.
It’s time to introduce you to the lesser-known, more successful cousin of multitasking: Monotasking. Just work at a steady pace, keep your plate full, and keep chipping away. The crazy thing is—you’ll probably get there just as fast, if not faster. Here are some basics to get you started.
We are taking on jobs and responsibilities while saying yes to everything, leaving you with the massive task of getting everything done. If you could see yourself as you multitask, you would be shocked at what you see: missed items, uncompleted pieces, and shoddy quality. However, what we see through our eyes as we are in the middle of things, we miss how ineffectual we are. Besides, we are not making progress, constantly switching from one activity to another without completing the first.
Studies show it can take anywhere from 11 to 23 minutes or longer to find your focus after an interruption or task switch. So what is the solution to multitasking?
The solution is simple – do the opposite, just Monotask and produce better results. How to start Monotasking with two simple steps.
First, write it down and get the tasks out of your head. The old-school paper works best.
Do a second pass and put things into categories if you want. But the only thing that matters is that it’s on the list, and nothing is in your head.
Once it’s written out, you can organize it how you like. Color-code tasks and arrange them from big to small, by category or time needed. Once you know everything is listed, you will feel calmer because the list has an end.
Instead of multitasking, do one thing—for as long as you want or until it is finished. Just work at a steady pace, keep your plate full, and keep chipping away. You’ll find that this new pace is far more sustainable and productive.
Should you start with the easiest or the hardest? It depends on you. One: by starting with the easiest possible items, you can get a bunch done quickly and build momentum. The other is to attack the most challenging first. Once completed, you’ll feel like you can conquer anything, just like coasting downhill on a bike. Either way, you can’t go wrong by working steadily one task at a time. Slow but effective work every time.
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